Olympia Public Library (Carnegie Building)

Location: 620 Franklin St SE
National, State and Local Register; Women’s History ; Wohleb; Religious Communities

Carnegie LibraryOlympia Public Library ca. 1914, National Register nomination Carnegie Building

Olympia Public Library building today (2012), photograph by Deb Ross

According to the inventory listing for this building, the collection that eventually became the Olympia Public Library was begun in 1896 by the Woman’s Club of Olympia. In 1909 the city took over the collection, which then numbered 900 books. Around that time, Andrew Carnegie instituted his program of endowing communities with funds to build local libraries, subject to certain stipulations. Carnegie’s grant of $25,000 assisted in the construction of this building, which was completed in 1914. The architectural firm of Blackwell and Baker used architect Joseph Wohleb as its principal architect, and this was one of Wohleb’s first important commissions in Olympia after he moved here from California. The building was expanded in 1960, but the collection continued to grow, and the current (2012) library building was constructed nearby in 1978.  Since then the Carnegie building has housed restaurants, bookstores, and a church.

The Olympia Public Library (Carnegie) building is listed on the local, state and national registries.

According to historian Bernice Sapp, this was once the site of the home of Jack Baldwin, pioneer logger, and Captain Hatch.

Additional resources:

Washington  State Historical Society

(enter the following catalog number in Collections Search box): C1986.

Olympia Heritage inventory

Sapp, Olympia 100 Years ago


















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